Hampton Free Baptist Church History

Hampton Free Baptist Church stands south of Crab Orchard and east of Grassy creek in section 26 of Carterville Township. James Wesley McKinney was pastor there in 1901 and 1909-1910, before his service as county superintendent of schools and after he organized McKinney chapel. His father was raised in the neighborhood by Bob Hampton.

James Hampton led a squad of men from the neighborhood to join John A. Logan from Jackson county and James J. Provost from Union county in forming Company H of Colonel Edward W. B. Newby’s regiment for the Mexican war. Hampton was elected captain, and Logan challenged Provost on which would he lieutenant:

“I will run you for it, play you for it, fight you for it.” The authorities gave each a commission.

William Hampton became corporal of the company after they marched the long trail to Fort Leavenworth, then in Missouri. Robert P. and Wade Hampton were discharged the next June at Las Vegas tor disability, and the company was discharged at Alton October 16, 1848.

Captain Hampton moved to Carbondale when that city was new and led the right against the liquor prohibition written into the deeds by the incorporators of the place. When he lost he moved away, and finally went to Missouri. There were twenty-two children in the family, each of whom played the fiddle. Their favorite tunes were the Arkansas Traveler and one whose chorus ran, “It’ll take sugar in my coffee, oh.”

Hampton school was taught in the church house, and then had its own building nearby. The district was divided, and East Hampton School is now in section 35; West Hampton, section 27.

Miss Julia Walker, granddaughter of the charter members of Hurricane Church and sister of the merchants at Carterville, taught Hampton school in the eighties. Later she became the wife of Thomas L.  (“Link”) Dowell, sheriff from 1890 to 1894, and United States marshal.

One of Miss Walker’s primary pupils was George W. Dowell, and from her hands he received his first whipping. He survived that severe punishment to become a lawyer, attorney for the Progressive miners, candidate for state senator, congressman, and governor, and judge of the state court of claims.

The Dowell family lived on a farm south of the school. Head of the family was William J. Powell, color-bearer of the 31st Illinois infantry. He marched at General Grant’s stirrup into Vicksburg July 4, 1863 and carried the regimental flag. Color-bearer Howell was twice wounded at Vicksburg; his clothes were pierced by eleven bullets, his flag by 244. Another son of the family is John Sherman Dowell, who sank the mine shaft at Dowell and at Stiritz.

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(Extracted from Pioneer Folks and Places, Barbara Barr Hubbs, 1939, on sale at the Williamson County Museum)